Can Crowdfunding Make a Dream Come True in Africa?

Crowdfunding—or the use of online platforms to raise money for business ventures from a large base of investors—has been steadily gaining traction in Africa over the past decade. Still, crowdfunding in Africa remains limited compared to other regions.

Entrepreneurs in the US and Europe have seen many projects and ideas launched as a result of crowdfunding. While some campaigns are more successful than others, often times the exposure is enough to spark the interest of a product manufacturer or an investor. African entrepreneurs are looking for the same kind of exposure and success.

We recently came upon this interesting and ‘unique’ campaign via a crowdfunding site and decided to follow it. Mohamed does a good job in giving his story and the details of his campaign so we felt compelled to share it with our audience. We’ll follow his campaign over the coming weeks to see if his dream will come true.

My Paradise Dhow Dream

Helping Revive the Beauty of the Swahili Coastal Culture and the Economy of Old Town Mombasa, Kenya

“Mohamed Swaleh Ali is my name I was born in Kenya, in the southern coastal rural community of Matondoni just north of Lamu an Island on the Indian Ocean. My life-long vision is to have a Lamu-style dhow. These conventional Swahili sailing ships were a vital part of the traditions in Mataodoni, a coastal community north of Mombasa, Kenya, where I was raised up.

Nowadays, Swahili dhows are mainly used for transportation and local fishing. As a tour guide working and living in Mombasa, I daydream of owning a Swahili dhow to take visitors and local citizens around Old Town Harbor, thus assisting revive traditional Swahili traditional culture and support the local economy. The Lamu-styled traditional dhow is known as a “Kasa.” I choose this one as it is somewhat small and can be made from locally assembled materials. Local artisans will build the dhow in one of the coastal communities in Kenya.”

Paradise Dhow Budget

“The dhow will cost $20,000 to build, and another $10,000 is needed to supply the rigging, life jackets, a small motor, licensing fees, and other startup costs. After consulting with friends, crowdfunding seemed the best possibility for raising this amount, and I very much appreciate any and all contributions toward turning my dream into a reality!”

The campaign started May 1st and will end in mid June. Mohamed is crowdfunding on Indiegogo at to help raise the funds to make his dream come true.

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